‘Say Her Name’: Delco community members demand justice for 8-year-old Fanta Bility

File photo: Robin Markle holds up a painting of Fanta Bility – an 8-year-old shot and killed by police in August, 2021 – at a rally outside the Delaware County Courthouse demanding charges against the officers. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Community members and activist groups rallied Thursday, Jan. 13, outside the Delaware County Courthouse in Media, calling for justice in the August 2021 shooting death of 8-year-old Fanta Bility by Sharon Hill police officers.

The rally coincided with the preliminary hearing of Angelo “AJ” Ford, 16, one of two teenagers charged with first-degree murder in Bility’s killing.

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Around 50 people were outside the Delaware County Courthouse on Jan. 13, protesting District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer’s failure to charge officers in the killing of 8-year-old Fanta Bility. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Around 50 people were outside the Delaware County Courthouse on Jan. 13, protesting District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer’s failure to charge officers in the killing of 8-year-old Fanta Bility. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Activists called on District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer to charge the three officers who shot their guns into a crowd, fatally wounding Bility, as families were leaving a football game at Academy Park High School. The two teenagers charged in Bility’s death, Ford and Hasein Strand, fired shots a block away and are currently being held without bail. The Sharon Hill police officers were placed on administrative leave, and a grand jury is considering the case. The DA has called for patience during the process.

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Criticism of Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer’s decision to charge two teenagers and not the Sharon Hill police officers who fired the shots that killed Fanta Bility was scathing at a rally outside the county’s Courthouse on Jan. 13, 2022. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Criticism of Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer’s decision to charge two teenagers and not the Sharon Hill police officers who fired the shots that killed Fanta Bility was scathing at a rally outside the county’s Courthouse on Jan. 13, 2022. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Rita Waters, a Delaware County resident and social activist since the 1960s, said, ‘’the more things change, the more they stay the same,’’ at a protest outside the courthouse in Media, Pa., on Jan. 13, 2022. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Rita Waters, a Delaware County resident and social activist since the 1960s, said, ‘’the more things change, the more they stay the same,’’ at a protest outside the courthouse in Media, Pa., on Jan. 13, 2022. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Criticism of Stollsteimer outside the courthouse was scathing as protesters sang, “Hit the Road, Jack.” Nia Holsten, a staff attorney with the Abolitionist Law Center, said the failure to charge the officers with Bility’s murder and potentially putting put two young Black men in prison for life was blatantly disrespectful of the Bility family and of all Black lives.

Nia Holsten, staff attorney with the Abolitionist Law Center, said Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer’s failure to charge police officers in the killing of 8-year-old Fanta Bility, is blatantly disrespectful to Bility’s family and to all Black lives. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Nia Holsten, staff attorney with the Abolitionist Law Center, said Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer’s failure to charge police officers in the killing of 8-year-old Fanta Bility, is blatantly disrespectful to Bility’s family and to all Black lives. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Kyle McIntyre, a coordinator with the social justice group UDTJ, said the district attorney, who ran on a platform of reform, had placed the interests of the Fraternal Order of Police over the community that worked tirelessly to have him elected. Both speakers implied that Stollsteimer’s future political ambitions would require police support. McIntyre called on the DA to recuse himself from future cases involving police misconduct.

Social justice group Delco Resists and UDTJ plan to rally again outside the Delaware County Courthouse at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 18, to show support for Strand during his preliminary hearing.

Kyle McIntyre, a coordinator for UDTJ, said Delaware County DA Jack Stollsteimer placed the interests of the Fraternal Order of Police ahead of the community that worked ‘’tirelessly’’ to have him elected.(Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Kyle McIntyre, a coordinator for UDTJ, said Delaware County DA Jack Stollsteimer placed the interests of the Fraternal Order of Police ahead of the community that worked ‘’tirelessly’’ to have him elected.(Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

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